Caleb James’s Knockdown Nicholson Workbench


Caleb James, a planemaker and chairmaker in Greenville, S.C., built a very cool knockdown Nicholson workbench earlier this year that inspired me to design a version for myself.

His breaks down into fewer pieces than mine, but what is most interesting about Caleb’s design is his face vise that is powered by holdfasts. While I am sure this has been done before, I can’t recall seeing this on any workbench, old or new.

It’s definitely worth checking out all the details on Caleb’s blog.

— Christopher Schwarz


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Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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5 Responses to Caleb James’s Knockdown Nicholson Workbench

  1. That is a pretty nifty vise idea.

  2. Ron Harper says:

    Your bench with his vise

  3. handtooldan says:

    And now i know how i want to set up my vice for my version of the knockdown bench 🙂 i wasnt willing to pay for a twin screw, nor pay the money to buy a thread cutting kit, plus with some clever hole placement you could in theory go as wide as you want with the width of the face vice, although i think around 48″ should be long enough, il just have to keep a few different boards under the bench to accommodate different widths.

  4. Jennie here
    Wow! The breakdown bench discussion and variations are exciting.The holdfast vice is worth a try. I feel the double bench screw with holdfastis more flexible and quiet. I admit the German wooden threader is expensive but you will open your mind and shop to many, many uses. The good news here is the $35 set of holdfasts. The braced top is unnecessary. Face glued Home Center 2 x 4s are inexpensive, hold holdfasts , are unslippery and substantial. I appreciated the comments in th.e original blog about crowing for priority. Who know, what’s what? I am working on creatively inventing adjustable fids for the top of the simple bench. You know I seem to remember a dingus I made once that may do the job. I had completely forgotten it. Oh well it may be somewhere in Studley or his forgotten Aunt Ida. And I wonder where she got it from. Please keep bombarding me with nifty ideas.

    Jennie Alexander.

  5. mcdara says:

    I love the efficiency of a shaving horse. Two hands free, no quick release needed, fast clamp, release. Screwing a face vice even with quick release seems slower than this idea.

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